See that beautiful girl?
This is Miss Penelope Rose-Lynn. She is our last baby. There are four of them. Ages 12, 8, 2 and Penny who is 9 months old. My first daughter slept in her crib since we brought her home from the hospital. I can’t recall ever having her sleep with us nor do I recall anything special we did to “get her” to sleep this way. It was something that was just… always.
My second daughter was breastfed. Unlike my first born, who wouldn’t ever latch and we ended up doing formula after three long months of pumping. MaKayla (baby #2) had a crib, beautiful bedding, the whole nine but having a four year old and a newborn was not giving me much sleep. Of course that was to be expected. What I didn’t expect was the convenience that co-sleeping while breastfeeding provided. I mean, baby cries, you pop it out everyone is happy. Mom can still sleep, baby can nurse and were all legit.
Until, you want your bed back.
Transitioning MaKayla to her crib was a challenge. We started that around nine months also because at that time we had just moved into a new house. I can’t quite remember when she was finally in her bed, every night but it took a while before it happened.
Then comes baby number three. Six years later.
Preston was born premature so he spent the first six weeks of his life in the NICU. That was a really difficult time for me so of course when he came home I wanted to give him all the love and attention I feel he lacked being hooked up to machines 24 hours a day. He had to learn how to nurse since we spent a lot of time bottle feeding him in the NICU. Once he learned though, he fed like a champ and then came the constant co-sleeping. Again, convenience.
Now let’s talk about Miss Penelope. She has co-slept with us since she was about three months old. That was about the time a swaddle just wasn’t doing it for her anymore. Now here we are six months later and she needs me to sleep. She wakes to comfort feed two to four times a night! I just don’t know if it is doing more harm in the long run than good in the present moment. Is it convenient to be able to just lean over and let her suckle until she falls back asleep? Hell yes! Especially since I have four children. I don’t get to bed until 11 pm most nights and I am back up at 6 am (I wish it was earlier but I just can’t). I need to be able to sleep. Peacefully.
I won’t even begin to mention my marital life. I presume we are all adults here right? Well, all I will say about this is that, I think my husband and I are ready to have our bed back.
Sleep Training? I have heard of it, I have read about it and I spent a lot of time on Youtube watching videos about the process. I will first start by saying to each his own. I judge no one as I wouldn’t understand why someone would judge me. Every family should do what is best for them.
Tonight I started sleep training. My goal is to get Penelope and Preston to bed by 8 pm and in their own beds. I really don’t know what I am in for at this point.
We started the night out with bath time for Preston and Penelope followed by a good rub down with some night time lotion and pajamas. Preston got to wind down on the couch with daddy for about 15 minutes while I breastfed Penny. At 8 pm I put them both in bed, turned on some lullaby’s and left the room. The crying began immediately. Both of them. Preston still cries and talks to himself and rolls around for almost an hour every night so this is nothing new.
I set my timer for 10 minutes. If she cried that long my plan was to go back in the room, calmly tell her it was night night time, lay her back down (with her bottle) and walk out again. The timer went off and sure enough I had to do this. Twice.
On the third round of 10 minute intervals she fell asleep with three minutes to spare. So in all it took approximately 27 minutes of crying tonight before she knocked out. It is clear the key to this is going to be consistency. Oh, and probably a lot of patience and coffee.
Night one… Check.